Friday, September 23, 2016

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

We moved from Richmond to Columbus last summer. And I have to be honest, we spent the whole year looking forward to visiting our friends and neighbors again! One of the many things we didn't get a chance to visit was Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. Everyone on the weekend in Richmond goes either to the beaches or the mountains. The drive is maybe an hour and half away and we just ran out of time.

Ashleigh suggested meeting over Labor Day weekend. We were excited to get the opportunity to go this summer!

So the kids and I hopped in the car on Saturday and made the nine hour drive to Richmond from Columbus. We had a great drive down going through West Virginia (holy hills!) and through the gorgeous mountains. There was zero traffic, which was not what I expected with Labor Day weekend!

Ashley was coming from Lynchburg and I was driving from Richmond to Busch Gardens on Sunday. We planned to meet around 1 pm at the park, but we got to the park around 2 pm.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is an amusement park featuring different European countries, including England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Germany, France and beautiful landscaping.

Traffic was very heavy inside the park. Overall, I would recommend getting to the park earlier, than mid-afternoon.

We had counted on heavy traffic since it was a holiday so we parked in the farthest lot (Scotland) and walked in. We could have ridden trolley, but the lines were pretty long. Ashleigh and her neighbors who were also there did the same thing. There were no lines at the entrance and we zipped on in.

We all met in Sesame Street Forest and the kids were so excited to hug and see each other. There were long lines (to be expected) and Ashleigh said it was the most crowded she had ever seen it.

But, we were mentally ready for lots of people and didn't have firm plans. We just wanted to see everyone and enjoy the rides, food and beautiful landscaping! Below are some of our tips for visiting Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Tips for Visiting Busch Gardens Williamsburg 

  • Let each kid pick out one attraction beforehand so that you know each one gets to do something they enjoy. Ryder wanted to see a character, Sophie wanted to ride the train or boat and Ava wanted to ride the coasters. 
  • Try the cotton candy (lines can be long), it's a great deal since they stuff the bag
  • Try to arrive early if your schedule allows it. 
  • Stay for the whole evening! They have awesome shows that let little ones rest before walking back to the entrance. We even had fireworks! 
  • The trolley station has to departure stations. Make sure you are on the right one when departing. They are good about announcing which station you are at. 
  • Busch Gardens offers free tap water. Just ask. 
  • Eat before normal dinner times! The Smokehouse had a very long line around 8. Eat with the early birds.

Mason Morgan falling asleep while the kiddos got cotton candy. 

Kiddo bumper cars. There is a heigh requirement for this -- you have to be under it to ride these cars. Older kids can ride the adult bumper cars. 

Midway through Busch Garden at the Oktoberfest event and in Germany. 
The kids all agreed that the cotton candy was one of their favorite parts of the park. They got to watch it being freshly made. It was so good and it was a whole bag filled to the top. 

I told the kids on Thursday that we were going to Busch Gardens that weekend and they were so excited. This was the entrance to the park. I would recommend wearing comfortable shoes! They did a ton of walking. We only had to carry Ryder at the end of the night. He did so great.

This is the entrance to Busch Gardens -- England. The kids thought the flags were so cool. 

Sophie had so much fun riding all of the rides. 

Ryder is a pretty brave guy! 

This is the Pompeii ride. Most kiddos will ride it, although Sophie said it was a little too scary for her so she stayed with Ashleigh. Ryder rode it with me and he was scared, but had so much fun going down the coaster. We also got soaked by people who paid to spray us with water. It looked like we had just gotten out of the shower!

Ava and Chamberlain were so excited to see each other again. 

At the end of the night we thought it would be fun to get some rest (the kids had been walking all day) and watch "All for One." This was the best idea ever!

Ava loved watching the cast do their stunts, including falling of the top of the ladder to the right of the photo. And Sophie and Ryder loved the action and characters. There were even fireworks. It was not crowded and there was plenty of seating. 

The entrance to the parking lots 

Walking in from the Scotland parking lot 

Ready for some fun! 

Our road trip to Williamsburg 

Foard and Mason Morgan

Soaked after our ride, but we had a blast! We also saw the animals and took the train ride around the park with our old neighbors from Salisbury. 

Ryder and his favorite--meeting Cookie Monster! 
We bumped into our neighbors from Salisbury and got to see James and his parents. We loved seeing them there! We were the last ones to ride the train that night. They ended the trains around 8 pm. The trains go through all of the countries in the park.

Disclosure: I was given free tickets to Busch Gardens, however views and opinions are my own. 

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